DT SHAMAR STEPHEN, CONNECTICUT

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6’5” – 313 lbs. – 5.25e

STATISTICAL PROFILE:

2009: Redshirt
2010: 27 – 4.0 – 2.0
2011: 17 – 1.0 – 0.0, 1 PD
2012: 26 – 2.0 – 0.0, 4 PD, 1 BK
2013: 60 – 10.0 – 3.0, 1 QBH, 1 PD

OVERVIEW:

Redshirted in 2009, then became a prominent member of Connecticut’s rotation in 2010, starting seven games of the twelve he played in. Was a reserve in 2011 over twelve games, then reprised that role in 2012, missing two games. Stepped into the starting lineup in 2013.

POSITIVES:

•    Made his senior season by far his best, blowing away previous statistical production.
•    Possesses an outstanding combination of height and bulk for a nose tackle or five-tech.
•    Strong enough to turn ballcarriers with one arm as they pass in two-gap run defense.
•    Capable of taking on double teams without losing much or any ground versus the run.
•    Remembers to get hands up and attempt to bat down passes when he can’t penetrate.
•    Typically does a good job of staying low when firing out of his stance to get leverage.
•    When he remembers to be active with his hands and feet, looks reasonably effective.
•    Could project to nose in an even front, nose or potentially five-technique in an odd one.

NEGATIVES:

•    Really only produced over one season in college, wasn’t a full-time starter until 2013.
•    Is confined to small spaces, doesn’t have the athleticism to pursue ballcarriers very far.
•    Not much of a pass-rushing threat, seems slow and lethargic in his overall movements.
•    Doesn’t always react very quickly to the ball being snapped, starting at a disadvantage.
•    Lack of consistent hand use/activity with feet prevents him from controlling blockers.
•    Probably doesn’t offer much value to a team with a one-gap defensive line philosophy.
•    A little bit taller than you’d like for a 3-4 nose, less athletic than you’d like for five-tech.

SUMMARY:

The type of player who will likely draw interest late in the draft because of his massive build, Stephen’s athletic limitations will prevent him from being of much interest to a team which likes their linemen to gain penetration, but his ability to eat blocks and hold up against double teams should intrigue two-gap teams who are willing to work with him on his footwork and hand use. However, they will also have to determine what his position is at the next level, as he is a bit taller than a typical nose tackle but not rangy enough to play five-technique for most teams. He may end up as a reserve who comes onto the field in jumbo packages, such as goal line units.

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